No answers from Defra on green jobs and growth
Following Defra questions on 24 November, Mary Creagh MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, responded to the failure of the Environment Secretary to answer questions on green jobs and growth.
She said: “The Secretary of State has no plan for green jobs and growth. She has failed to consider how many much needed jobs would be created in the UK’s green economy by the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting. And avoided saying whether she has actually had a one-to-one with the Chancellor to tackle this unemployment crisis.”
“Defra is out of touch with Britain’s largest employers who support mandatory reporting, and out of ideas with how to support the 1million young unemployed."
This is the transcript of the exchange:
Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab): Climate change is the biggest market failure the world has seen and the Secretary of State’s decision on whether to introduce carbon reporting to correct the failure is imminent. That decision is a once-in-a-Parliament opportunity to create green growth and drive the development of low-carbon products and services across UK plc. With youth unemployment at record levels and mandatory reporting supported by Britain’s largest employers, how many jobs does she estimate would be created in the UK’s green economy if it was introduced?
Mrs Spelman: The hon. Lady shares entirely with me an appreciation of how important it is that we make progress in that area. She will have seen how the coalition Government have committed to challenging targets in order to change our economy to a low-carbon basis. In the spirit of being on the same page on this matter, I can say that I am keen to do what I can to transition the economy in that regard. On this specific question, however, I hope that the hon. Lady will appreciate that, as I said in my reply to the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Sheila Gilmore), we need to synchronise carbon reporting in a way that investors can understand. At the moment, there are different requirements on companies to report in different ways. We need a meaningful measure of carbon reporting in the spirit of achieving that low-carbon economy.
Mary Creagh: The Secretary of State signally failed to answer my question. There is no estimate in the impact assessment of the number of jobs that the new products and services would create. When the global recession struck in 2008, Labour’s future jobs fund created green jobs for young people in wildlife trusts, country parks and green charities across the country, but they are now on the dole. Carbon reporting will help us to move to the low-carbon economy. When did she last sit down with the Chancellor, one to one, to discuss the autumn statement that he will make on Tuesday and how DEFRA will play its part in creating the conditions for green jobs and growth to tackle the crisis?
Mrs Spelman: I do not think it is my job to share in advance with the hon. Lady the content of the autumn Budget statement. As I just said, I share with her the clear vision about opportunities to create jobs if our economy is transitioned into a low-carbon economy. If her party felt so passionately about that, why did it not proceed with what she now claims we should be doing during its 13 years in office?